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Salem, Rafik M. (1987) Exile and nostalgia in Arabic and Hebrew poetry of al-Andalus (Muslim Spain). PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The purpose of this study is to examine the notions of "exile" (qhurba) and "nostalgia" (al-hanin ila al-Watan) in Arabic and Hebrew poetry in al-Andalus (Muslim Spain). Although this theme has been examined individually in both Arabic and Hebrew literatures, to the best of my knowledge no detailed comparative analysis has previously been undertaken. Therefore, this study sets out to compare and contrast the two literatures and cultures arising out of their co-existence in al-Andalus in the middle ages. The main characteristics of the Arabic poetry of this period are to a large extent the product of the political and social upheavals that took place in al-Andalus. Some of the cities which for many years represented the bastions of Islamic civilization were falling into the hands of the invading Christian army. This gave rise to a stream of poetry that reflects the feelings of exile and nostalgia suffered by those poets who were driven away from their native land. This Arabic poetry had a substantial influence on the literary works of the Jewish poets who were reared within the cultural circles of the Arabic courts. As a consequence the Hebrew poetry they composed, in many respects, bore the stamp of the Arabic poetry in form and content. This thesis is divided into three major parts organized as follows: the first part deals with the themes of exile and nostalgia in Arabic poetry in al-Andalus. It contains three chapters: chapter one begins with a study of the origins of the themes of exile and nostalgia in the Arabic poetic tradition. Chapter two focuses on the nostalgia and lament poetry in al-Andalus describing the characteristics of each period through examining specimens of Andalusian poems. Chapter three is devoted to a study of the poetic product of Ibn Hamdis, the Sicilian (d.1133) and discusses how the themes of exile and nostalgia became the framework of both his life and his poetry. The second part of the thesis parallels the first part in that it deals with the Hebrew poetry in al-Andalus. It consists of three chapters: chapter one investigates the origins of the concept of the homeland in the Biblical sources. Chapter two discusses the form and the structural scheme of the Hebrew poetry in al-Andalus and the influence of the Arabic poetry on the Hebrew poetic works. Chapter three is devoted to a study of the poetry of the Jewish poet, Judah ha-Levi (d.1140) and his nostalgic expressions for Zion. The third part is a comparative literary study of two specimen poems of Ibn Hamdis and ha-Levi. The aim of this study is to develop methods for an analysis of the motifs and internal structure of these two poems. The linguistic analysis is focussed mainly on the levels of phonology, morphology and syntax, while the traditional analysis is focussed primarily on the content and imagery.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:03

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